The Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption, Prof. Itse Sagay (SAN), has lambasted the Senate for delaying the confirmation of the acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Mr. Ibrahim Magu.
Under Magu’s one-year leadership at the EFCC, the agency has recovered more money than any other time in its 13-year history and has also secured over 145 convictions.
Speaking with PUNCH correspondent during a telephone interview on Tuesday, Sagay described the delay as a psychological attack against Magu but he argued that it would not slow down the anti-corruption momentum.
He said, “This will not stop the fight against corruption. An acting chairman is a chairman whose position has not been approved by the senate but he is still the chairman. He has all the powers of the chairman. So, they can delay it but all it amounts to is a psychological war.
“As an acting chairman if you are worried, it can affect you psychologically but this will have no effect on the anti-corruption war because it doesn’t stop his power.”
Sagay said if the lawmakers could amend the Code of Conduct Bureau/CCT Act all in a bid to protect themselves, he would not be surprised if they frustrated Magu’s confirmation for the same ulterior motive.
He added, “It will not improve their situation if they don’t confirm him. In this country there are very few statesmen. What we have are people that are seeking their personal welfare; people who do not have the interest of the country at heart but are just there to get what they can get for themselves.
“This is nothing but pettiness. Let them continue to act as they want but Nigerians should be observant and should note the names of those trying to frustrate the anti-corruption war and ensure that they are not re-elected.”
The Presidency had on June 17, 2016, written the Senate asking for the confirmation of Magu.
The letter was signed by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, who was then the acting President while President Muhammadu Buhari was in the United Kingdom on a 10-day medical vacation.
The letter, which was received at the Senate on June 22 as indicated by the official stamp on it, was not read by the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, until July 14.
In the letter, Buhari also sought the confirmation of Messrs Nasule Moses, Lawan Mamman, Galadanci Imam, and Adeleke Rafiu as members of the commission.
Investigations have revealed that at least 10 senators are either under investigation by the EFCC or are currently standing trial for alleged financial embezzlement of public funds during their tenure as governors.
Currently, the EFCC is providing evidence against the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, who is standing trial before the Code of Conduct Tribunal while his wife, Toyin, is under probe by the commission.
Some other senators being prosecuted or under probe include, Joshua Dariye, Danjuma Goje, Jonah Jang, Godswill Akpabio and Sani Yerima.